SpeakerLecture

Antoni Abad is an artist, based in Barcelona. His projects have been presented at Dapertutto La Biennale di Venezia 1999; Media Lounge/New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York 2001; Hamburger Banhof, Berlin 2002; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona 2003; P.S.1./MOMA, New York 2003; Centro Cultural de España, México DF 2004; 1ª Bienal de Sevilla 2004; CMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León 2005; La Casa Encendida, Madrid 2005; Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona 2006; Estrecho dudoso: Tráficos, Fundación Teorética, San José de Costa Rica 2006; Centro Cultural Sao Paulo, Brasil 2007; Centre d’Art Contemporaine, Geneva 2008; Der diskrete charme der technologie, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany 2008; Souls & machines, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid 2008; Festival de la Imagen de Manizales, Colombia 2009; Bienal Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brasil 2009; Pixelache Festival, Helsinki, Finland 2010; and Queens Museum, New York 2012. The project BARCELONA*accessible was given the National Visual Arts Award of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and the Golden Nica Digital Communities of the Prix Ars Electronica Festival of Linz, Austria 2006. In 2009 Antoni Abad was given the Innovae award from the Fundación Española de Ciencia y Tecnología FECYT.

Since 2004, Megafone.net has been inviting groups of people marginalized within society to express their experiences and opinions. Using mobile phones to create audio recordings, videos and images that are immediately published to the Web, participants transform these devices into digital megaphones, amplifying the voices of individuals and groups who are often overlooked or misrepresented in the mainstream media.

Megafone.net has developed thirteen projects with different communities: Taxi drivers from Mexico City 2004, young gypsies in Lleida and León (Spain 2005), prostitutes in Madrid 2005, Nicaraguan immigrants in Costa Rica 2006, motorcycle messengers (motoboys) in Sao Paolo 2007, displaced and demobilized people in Colombia 2009, young Sahrawi refugees in the Algerian Sahara 2009 and immigrants in Queens, New York 2011.

Three projects were developed with people with limited mobility in Barcelona 2006, Geneva 2008 and Montreal 2012, and another one in Barcelona 2010 with blind and visually impaired participants. In these projects, participants take photographs with GPS mobile phones to document the barriers that they encounter in the streets, as well as examples of good accessibility. These photos are geo-located on maps that are populated with their user-generated content. Obstacles are identified by tags which represent the themes that the participants have identified as most significant. The Megafone.net project visualizes the patterns of systemic discrimination against people with disabilities and physical impairments that have become rooted in the urban landscape. It denounces this lack of access and challenges political indifference to this vital issue.